B.C. storms cause power outages, ferry cancellations, whiteouts

B.C. storms
B.C. storms

B.C. storms cause power outages

B.C. storms remind residents winter has hit many parts of the province with a vengeance, causing widespread power outages,ferry cancellations, and whiteout and slippery conditions on many roads.

The snow, however, is turning out to be a bonus for ski resorts, with some opening ahead of schedule.

Sun Peaks near Kamloops will open Friday, and Whistler-Blackcomb is scheduled to open Thursday. Big White is already open and Silver Star in Vernon will open three chairlifts Saturday.

At Sun Peaks, spokesman Kyle Taylor said that with the natural snowfall plus cold conditions, they have been able to run 26 snow-making guns to allow them to open for both Nordic and downhill skiing Friday.

“In the last seven days we have had 47 centimetres of snow and we are expecting another 26 cm,” he said.

The temperature is expected to plummet to -14 C Thursday evening, giving them optimal conditions to make snow, said Taylor.

Snow fell right down to Whistler Village and at Whistler’s Pig Alley weather station at 1,650 metres. There is a 98-cm base.

Mike Coyle is the search manager for Coquitlam search and rescue and warns the snowpack is still very unstable and avalanches can easily happen in the early part of winter. Besides avalanches, Coyle points out that people need to be prepared for inclement weather at higher altitudes, and the trail signs and routes can be covered.

“People are itching to get out in the backcountry,” he said. “In the early season, there are hazards such as hidden rocks and there have been a few avalanches already. A thin snowpack can be very dangerous.”

High winds wreaked havoc on the water with ferry crossings delayed and cancelled on some routes.

B.C. Hydro crews were busy Tuesday after the windstorm blew through Vancouver Island and into the Fraser Valley. Hydro’s Mora Scott said about 80,000 customers were without power after the storm.

The customers were in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Hope, Victoria and Duncan. About 42,000 customers lost power in the Fraser Valley, and Scott said they had 25 crews and 18 contractors working to get power restored.

Later in the evening around 7 p.m., a total of nearly 93,000 customers were without power across the region. An outage on the North Shore in the area of the Lions Gate Bridge also shut down power along the span connecting Vancouver to North Vancouver.

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